MUSCATINE, Iowa – The time period for the legal discharge of consumer fireworks was shortened by the Muscatine City Council last November as they amended Muscatine City Code that permitted the legal use of consumer fireworks during a one week period in July 2017. Legislation passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 2017 allowed for the sale and use of consumer fireworks but also allowed local municipalities the option to limit the time period to legally use or explode the fireworks.
Over a dozen locations in Muscatine to buy consumer fireworks have either secured are in the process of securing their licenses from the state. Permanent structures are permitted to sell consumer fireworks June 1-July 8 with temporary structures (i.e., tents) allowed to sell June 13-July 8. Buying is one thing … using is another and those times are limited to just two days for the Fourth of July holiday.
Current City Code states that consumer fireworks can be legally discharged July 3 and July 4 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. only. The Code also amended the time period for legal discharge of consumer fireworks in celebration of New Year’s Eve to 9 a.m. on December 31 to 12:30 a.m. on January 1.
Citizens are urged to be responsible regarding the use of fireworks and to remain within the guidelines established in the Muscatine City Code. Public safety is the foremost concern for City officials in the governance of the sale and use of consumer fireworks.
“Fireworks can have far reaching consequences that are usually not considered when they are ignited,” Kevin Jenison, Communications Manager, said. “The concern of city officials for the individuals who discharge the fireworks, those who are in the vicinity when fireworks are discharged, for the homes, businesses, or other structures that may be ignited by fireworks, and for household pets has been and continues to be major discussion points when considering revisions to the city ordinance.”
Per state law, a person shall not use, explode, or discharge consumer fireworks on real property other than that person’s real property or on the real property of a person who has consented to the use of consumer fireworks on that property. Sidewalks, the right-of-way between sidewalks and the street, and the City streets are all public property and thus are prohibited. Parks, trails, public parking lots and so on are also off limits.
Using fireworks outside the designated dates and times listed below is considered to be a violation and can result in fines of no less than $250 per violation. Anyone discharging fireworks or allowing the discharge of fireworks on their property assumes responsibility for that discharge and the consequences, if warranted.
The City also encourages residents to be good neighbors during this first year of legal consumer fireworks usage. Please be considerate to any neighbors who may have a sensitivity to fireworks noise, be mindful of pets who may become frightened by the firework explosions, and be mindful of the property lines of others who may not want fireworks on their real property.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these recommendations:
- Do not allow young children to play with fire-works. Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal “safe” device for the young, burn at very high temperatures and should be not be handled by young children. Children may not understand the danger involved with fireworks and may not act appropriately while using the devices or in case of emergency.
- Older children should be permitted to use fireworks only under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
- Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
- Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
Report any fires in buildings, vehicles, or greenspaces by calling 911 immediately!
Enjoy a safe holiday season.
Fireworks Fact Sheet